Today’s Headlines

  • Bloomberg: Bike-Share "Ideal" for NYC (Post)
  • Motorist Assaults Cyclist for Using Bike Lane on Capodanno Blvd (Advance, Gothamist, Examiner)
  • SI Pols Respond With Request for More Driver/Cyclist Education (Advance)
  • 181st St. Ceiling Collapse Causing Turmoil on Other Subway Lines and Bus Routes (AMNY)
  • More Than a Dozen Other Stations Have Severe Water Leakage Problems (Post)
  • Missing From Bloomberg’s Transit Plan: More City Funding for Transit (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • Queens Judge Gives DWI Killer Three and a Half Years for Taking the Lives of Two Women (Post)
  • Anti-Tunnel, Pro-Surface Transit Stance Pays Off for Seattle Mayoral Challenger (NYT)
  • Sunday Is Your Last Chance to Enjoy Summer Streets Events in Western Queens (Queens Gazette)
  • Lou Piniella Warned For Jaywalking, Declines to Scuffle With Cop (HuffPo)

More headlines over at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    Looks like the bicyclist is guilty of not running a red light.

    “When traffic is backed up at the light, motorists commonly move into the bike lane to make the right turn on red. A sign at the intersection permits a right turn after stopping at the red light, but traffic law prohibits cars from using or obstructing the bike lane. As DeRespino tells it, he was stopped at the light, and that enraged a number of rush-hour drivers. ”

    But it may not be because he is a bicyclist. While driving I’ve gotten the horn many times for not hitting the gas right when the light changes, and running over a pedestrian still trying to get across in the crosswalk.

    For those of you who don’t know it, Fr. Cappodino is a fine boulevard that runs along the water. When I’m driving back to Brooklyn from points south and am worried the Staten Island Expressway is backed up, I come home via Hylan and then Fr. Cappodino. It’s a pleasant ride, and there seems to be plenty of room. But then again, I don’t drive at rush hour, and I’m not in a big hurry.

  • Mr. McGinn, who favors replacing the viaduct with a less expensive surface-level boulevard and expanded transit services, has won support from both fiscal conservatives and environmentalists.

    So any reason to continue pretending that a tunnel is the best replacement for the Gowanus?

  • This Sunday is not your last chance to enjoy Summer Streets events in Western Queens. Next Saturday is.

  • And instead of going when the light turned green, “I stayed there an extra turn of the light because I was frustrated and fuming… I was trying to calm myself and have a drink on a hot day.”

    Look, I understand this impulse. I sometimes want to send a message to obnoxious motorists. But I would really like it if the cycling community could get off it’s high horse and quit doing sanctimonious crap like this. Riding a bike is not always a political statement and being right on the merits doesn’t give you a license to be a jerk. Obviously the other party in this confrontation is an unhinged loon and is 100% at fault, however the fact that he’s insane should also serve as a reminder that people who are willing to get furiously upset about traffic are not people with whom common ground is going to be found during a red light discussion of transportation policy. I would say that unless someone puts your life at risk with their behavior it’s probably best to let it slide. Advocating for broad based changes to street design and land use policy is going to result in much better streets for everyone. Getting into arguments at the light with d-bag motorists is just going to get everyone riled up.

  • The confrontation started after DeRespino, who was riding in the bicycle-only lane, stopped at a red light, preventing several cars lined up behind him from making a right turn.

    How could DeRespino, who was in the bike lane, have been “preventing several cars lined up behind him from making a right turn?” More like a car that was at the light, intending to continue straight ahead rather than turn right, was preventing the cars behind it from making a right turn.

    And the law is pretty clear. A driver can turn through a bike lane, not line up in one to eventually make a turn. Shouldn’t knowledge of the rules of the road be a prerequisite for obtaining a driver’s license?

  • Boris

    I’ve driven many, many times on Father Capodanno, because my parents live at the end of it. (When I bike in the area I generally take the bike path near the boardwalk. Five-year-olds running amok on the bike path are easier to deal with then motorists).

    The problem with this street is that it was designed by Robert Moses. It is too empty, too wide, and too straight, so people speed- but the lights are green for only a short time, and it is very frustrating for a driver to break hard. And there’s no green wave except in the peak direction at rush hour, so there’s no chance to coast at speed limit the way one can do on Manhattan’s one-way avenues. It doesn’t pay to go slow. So of course drivers are raging mad by the time they get to their turn-off.

    I think the fix for driver aggression on Father Capodanno is replacing the lights with roundabouts. There’s lots of space for them. Or at the very least, retime the lights for longer greens and turn on night mode (blinking yellow/red) at night when the area is absolutely dead.

  • Nathan

    I think that everyone, drivers, peds, bikers, should have to either take a safety training course, or at least use the other modes of transit once in a while. I drove a car in New York this week for the first in 2 years (and the first time ever at night), and let me tell you I am glad my bike has flashing lights. I was in Williamsburg and seriously hipster cyclists, if you are *trying* to be invisible on the road, you’re doing a pretty good job.

    On the other hand, most drivers have no idea how terrifyingly close they come to other users of the street and should step out of their car every once and a while.

  • Bill from Brooklyn

    Earlier this summer, I took a ride over on the Ferry and biked out Bay Street to Father Capodanno and then further out into Staten Island. I found Father Capodanno to be overall a pleasant ride near the water. However, Boris is correct, there is way too much speeding on the Blvd.

    My sense of this incident is that we are dealing with two people who both were wrong in different degrees. It seems the cyclist was being deliberately rude and uncivil. Yes he was honked at, smile and move on. Don’t stand in the bike lane for additional lights to cycle through. That is just being deliberately obnoxious. It was not the time or place for a confrontation. A driver waiting to make a right hand turn is not inherently evil. I would have had more empathy for him if there had been a confrontation because the cars making the right hand turns were blocking his progress in the bike lane. We all have been honked at. Better to be honked at than run over. However, when the light turned, he should have moved on. If he wanted to make a point, hesitate a second or two, but don’t stay in the lane for multiple light cycles. That just gives all bicyclists a bad name as discourteous.

    All that said, none of it excuses the motorist, who regardless of whether there was an actual physical attack is 100% wrong in terms of getting out of a car and escalating a needless confrontation.

  • “But I would really like it if the cycling community could get off it’s [sic] high horse and quit doing sanctimonious crap like this.”
    This is one of the problems the livable streets movement has: people identifying as part of a homogeneous and distinct “community”. We are unique citizens who make use of differing transportation and recreational tools depending on each situation. I happen to use a bicycle as my primary form of transportation but in no case would I define myself as part of a cycling community, and by association, responsible for this man’s actions. This is the same fallacy the Daily News commenters (et. al.) use when the say “you bikers are dangerous.” When we start seeing people as individuals instead of as their transportation choices, we’ll get a lot farther.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I think the fix for driver aggression on Father Capodanno is replacing the lights with roundabouts.”

    Maybe. But would drivers at the roundabouts stop for pedestrians trying to get to the beach?

  • Boris

    With appropriate signage and slightly narrowing the lanes, I think they’d stop for pedestrians. At busy pedestrian intersections (only Sand Lane, really), keep the light. Virtually everyone drives to the beach there, so if people started to walk/take the bus the traffic would thin out greatly, making it easy to cross anywhere.

  • I’m don’t accept a ‘bad name’ for what other pedestrians, cyclists, subway riders, or multicellular organism do—regardless—but facilitation of traffic violations is not a courtesy. When motorists decide to use a bicycle lane for turning or anything else, they take it away from people trying to use it correctly. It happens all the time, once one person starts to drive down the lane you can forget about the drivers behind respecting the law. DeRespino probably had to ride/walk around a line of cars stopping-and-going in the bicycle lane to even get to the light, but whether he did or not, I don’t fault him for taking the bicycle lane for a while once he got there. It has resulted in a charge of assault for a physically violent motorist and a news story that draws attention to illegal driving on bicycle lanes. Some drivers are claiming confusion about bicycle lanes not being turning lanes, which is a crock, but the fact that at least one road rager has gotten into trouble over it is News They Can Use.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Another way to look at the incident, however, is that the bicyclist should have left the bike lane and moved into the motor vehicle lane if he was going straight, so as not to be nailed by someone turning into him while turning right.

    That’s what I do. Not sure how the drivers would respond on Staten Island.

  • Josh

    The driver didn’t assault that guy for “using the bike lane”, as the headline above implies; the driver assaulted him for being a dick and hanging out in the bike lane for an extra cycle of the light. If I had been on my bike coming up behind him in the bike lane, I would’ve found it obnoxious that he was hanging out there too.

    Now, you don’t have a right to assault someone for being a dick, of course, but let’s tell it like it is.

  • OK, he was being a dick. But that shouldn’t have affected any drivers. I can quite happily cycle past any number of dicks on the sidewalk without feeling the need to slap ’em for being dicks.

    The only way the cyclist would have been inconveniencing drivers by waiting at the light would be if the drivers were already in the bike lane behind the cyclist and waiting to make their right turns. If they were still in their own lane then they could have just passed him and then turned right. Unless the cyclist was stopped in a way as to suggest that he might pull away at any second, and then I would agree that he was being a dick.

  • It is great to hear that Seattle voters are rejecting Nickles and his plan to rebuild the Alaska Way freeway. Good news for a change.

  • Next Time

    Plaxico Burress was sentenced to two years in prison today for shooting himself in the leg in a night club. Think about that the next time a motorist kills a stranger walking across the street and is not charged.